How to Clone a Hard Drive: A Step-by-Step Guide

While you have several options (services) to back up your files, but a bulletproof option is best when it comes to data safety.

How to Clone a Hard Drive

How cloning a hard drive can be helpful?

In some cases where you are migrating you windows installations to another hard drive, or doing a 1-to-1 copy anything can happen. Having a clone can avoid you from the headache of losing your important data. Even the clone will be easy to swap in and boot up right away.

Either you use built-in disk cleaning features of backup services like IDrive and Acronis, you can use these built-in features to perform normal file backup. In this article, we are using free tools to perform drive cloning. You can also check out some paid tools for batter backup solution with suplemental cloning features. But for one-off clones (migrating your OS to the new drive), these are the tools you are going to need.

Connect Your Secondary drive

Cloning involves two drives: the source drive and the destination drive. Those having desktop computers can manage both drives installed internally (or you’re just cloning to a USB external drive for backup ), and you are good to go.

Those having laptops having only one drive inside with not much space for a second can get an extra enclosure or SATA-to-USB adapter or dock to connect with the only drive of your computer. You can start the cloning process after you have connected your drive, then disconnect it and install the drive internally.

You better get the destination drive with healthy storage capacity at least large enough to contain every bit of source drive. But if the drive is bigger in size and there’s not enough space you might free up space on your source drive and shrink the main partition down to fit. If the destination is a smaller SSD then you can do this process before migrating.

Macrium Reflect Free For Windows

Out of a large number of great cloning tools available the Macrium Reflect Free is the best and commonly used around the world.

You can use “Home Use” install to download the software and then install Macrium Reflect. Using this tiny tool allows you to choose the type of license you want. You can choose the temporary folder for these files-I just put them in my Downloads folder and then click the Download button.

After this, the Macrium installation wizard will do everything automatically. After installation, you can delete the install files safely from your Downloads folder.

How to Clone a Hard Drive?

Open the tool and you will be able to see all the connected disks with your computer. Now there are two options for you: Either clone directly from one disk to another or create an image of a disk. The good thing about migrating from one drive to other is that you can boot from the second disk. While the imaging allows you to store a full 1-to-1 copy of source disk into destination space-This method is perfect for backups.

Now you need to pick the disk you want to copy and don’t forget to check the option on the left for multiple partitions and then click “Clone This Disk” or “Image This Disk”.

Choose Clone Destination

The next step is to choose your destination disk-this drive is going to store your newly copied data. One thing you need to remember that during this process the previous data on the destination drive will be erased so be careful which one you choose. You can delete existing data explicitly and click “Delete Existing Partition” button until the drive is empty.

Schedule the process

You will get the option to schedule the clone, this option is ideal if you regularly image your drive for backup. You can also do the one-time clone. Then, you can save the backup and its schedule as XML file for safekeeping, you can check ou uncheck depending upon your requirements.

Boot From Your Cloned Drive

Now the tool will start the cloning process. Time for this process can vary depending on the size of your drive. When you have cloned your drive, you can boot the drive directly from BIOS settings. But, if you used imaging, you can keep the second drive connected for future image backups.

How to Clone a hard drive for Mac Using SuperDuper

The SuperDuper is an ideal option for all Mac cloning needs. It’s dead simple interface allows it to be used popularly for Mac users. Download the app, open the DMG file, and double-click on the file to install it. There’s no need to drag the file in the /Applications folder like with most Mac Apps you do.

After installation, you will be greeted with it’s simple, intuitive interface. In the first menu next to “Copy”, you can choose the source drive you want to clone. In the second menu, choose the destination drive you’re cloning to-this will fully erase the drive in that second menu, so make sure there isn’t anything important on it. Now press the “Copy Now” button to begin the process.

Finalize Your Drive Clone

After a while you will get two options after the completion: Replace your Mac’s internal drive with the new drive( for a case of migrating to a larger drive), or swap those now-then boot up as normal.

You can boot your cloned drive using USB, you can hold the Option key as your Mac startup and select it from the boot list. You will receive everything in the exact state your computer was working during the cloning process, and without worrying you can keep working.

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